Last week I learned some news that made my heart well with grief. A little girl from our unit has left us, after a long and ferocious struggle in the ICU. Her name was Cadence, and she occupied the room next to us during our stay in critical care. There have been many times that I have thought of her and prayed for her to find the strength to get through this, but her condition was such that her small body did not have the resources to fend off any kind of infection.
I never met her, as she was isolated, and did not know her family so very well, but spoke often to her parents or grandparents as we walked in and out of the ICU on our visits to our beloved little ones. I only know that her family was from New Brunswick and came here many months ago for Cadence to undergo a complete bone marrow transplant, as she suffered from a condition that compromised her immune system totally. She was six years old. Tragically, as sometimes happens, her transplant failed to take, and over many weeks she battled lung infections that eventually took her to the ICU. In a last effort to save her, the team opted for her to undergo transplant yet again, this time from her mother’s stem cells, in hopes that this would work, although they were not an exact match.
There is only so much chemotherapy and suffering that one little person can take, and in the end it was too much for her. She died the day that we were discharged. My heart and thoughts are with her family now, as I can only begin to imagine their grief. Their struggle was so very long and difficult and dark. I hope that they are home now, with their family and friends around them to offer love, help and support.
I would like to ask everyone who reads this to consider registering to become a bone marrow donor. This is a relatively painless way to help people with cancer and immunodeficiency disorders. You can register at www.onematch.ca or at the bone marrow registry in your country. Please consider giving blood and platelets.
Fly free, little bird.